My fiance Adam and I had no intention of keeping our vows a surprise from one another, so we collaborated a bit when writing them. Working together on them was a lot of fun — here's how we got from “I have no idea what to write” to “done!”:
1. Define vow format
We figured out the logistics of how we wanted to deliver the vows. Adam did not want to talk for a big long block of time on his own. He's a bit shy and he was afraid he wouldn't be able to pace it well. Having us swap back and forth would be easier on both of us and give us each a chance to breathe between each thing we wanted to say.
2. Consider a vow worksheet
I created a “Vow Worksheet” for each of us with the following questions to help us get the brainmeats working and thinking in terms of what we wanted to say. (I stole some of these questions from various sources and made some up.)
- What are the three greatest things about the person you are about to marry?
- When did you know that you were in love/know that this was the person that you wanted to marry?
- What does marriage mean to you?
- What will change about your relationship once you are married/What will stay the same?
- What is your most favorite memory of your partner?
- What are the most important things in a relationship, in your opinion?
- What would you like the whole world to know about your partner and why you love them?
- What would you like to promise your partner?
We traded worksheets and read each other's so that we not only had our own ideas percolating in our heads but had some idea of what the other was thinking as well.
3. Create three statements
We each created three statements of what we loved about one another (declarations of love), and three statements of something we wanted to promise one another (vows).
4. Exchange statements
We exchanged these and read one another's then went back and read our own and edited ours a bit. We repeated this step a couple of times until we were both happy with what we had written down.
5. Mix ‘n' match
I then took our three declarations and three vows and alternated them, having him make one statement, then me, then him, then me, until we had each made our three declarations and our three vows.
What I found was that, despite the fact that we wrote all six lines separately, they fit together almost perfectly, once they were lined up, with his going first and mine following. Once we read them in their alternating fashion, they flowed really well and we were very happy with them.
I edited them one last time to tweak a little grammar here and there and take out a tiny bit of redundancy, and we were done!